Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It is finished. Almost.







Graduation: Basic sciences=GOING HOME!
We're going home! The proof is in the photo! After completing 5 terms of bookwork and beaches, Ed completed the first half of medical school.

The hardest part is yet to come: Step 1, a comprehensive 8 hour exam covering all of the material thusfar learned. This should take place sometime in late fall, in Phoenix.

After that, the fun begins, Ed begins clinical rotations!
Please note: Ed wants everyone to know he is NOT yet a doctor! Despite the fancy photo!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Carnival






Carnival: You should experience it exactly once.



Natalie


My first experience was in Argentina, over 20 years ago. I was introduced to this tradition by the water bombs that flew out of a school bus and hit me squarely on the back of the head as I rode my bike through the streets of Tandil. I should have learned my lesson. But, as you can see, I did not.

Last year's Parade theme: Respect da troupe!


This years parade theme:"NO-BOD-EE MOOOOOOOOVE!


Undoubtedly my favorite moment of the parade....watching the trusty librarian getting her groove on.

This guy did a very special dance just for me.
I don't know what they are doing, but that concrete has to hurt!

My second experience was also my third, fourth and fifth at the same time. The parade, which was a total of 4 "floats" circled around the island for about 3 hours. Two days in a row. I went to see it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, I went to say goodbye to a friend at the airport, and got caught in it my fourth. After an hour or so, I thought It was all over. But the parade circled around and trapped me in a parking space at the airport, so I saw it again.




I just wanted to show you that there is a Hummer on this tiny island.






video



I should have been walking with this group. I, too, am a carnival survivor





More videos will appear later today....keep posted....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wrapping up the school year!

Congratulations

to Sophia and little Charles, and Kai for a successful year in Statia's schools!

In a normal situation, a simple congrats would be appropriate. No blogging or bragging necessary. But this was a special year. Adjusting to a completely different culture was a challenge beyond anything they had experienced.

Among adjustments they had to:
  • Learn Dutch
  • Learn pidgin ("Caribeasian") English
  • Learn to live as minorities
  • Adjust to local mannerisms, including "shut-up" and corporal punishment as a means of school discipline
  • Go from 3.6 million and 9,000 square mile city to 3,000 and 9 square mile city.
  • Adjust from desert heat to 75% humidity
  • Avoid cow pattys at every turn
  • Learn to self-entertain
  • Recess means find some rocks and play with them or chase each other. There aren't many toys on that playground
  • Eat Jonnycakes and saltfish for breakfast
  • School supplies are not endless nor top quality.
  • Trade schoolbus and city streets to goat path walk
The Seventh-Day Adventist school was a wonderful school. The kids were treated with respect, kindess, and even affection. Charles quickly gained the reputation that follows him as a daredevil and class clown. The children liked to touch Sophia's hair. She had many admirers, especially one Oville, whom she was (without her consent) married to at recess. Sophia was praised by all of her teachers repeatedly as a good and hard-working student. She earned a very special award at the end of the year too! Ok a tiny brag moment. Please forgive.I am very proud of the kids this year!

Sophia and Salweh


With teacher Helen, who told me in p/t conference that she regularly prays to have five Sophias in her class.


Goodbye to the pet cow, goats, and Moto, the pet donkey.


With her 4th grade class

"Chalz", 2018 olympic bunnyhop hopeful, with teacher Regina.


Most Outstanding student
*******************************************************************************
Kai's experience was unique. He decided to forego online classes and attend the "big" school at the last moment. This includes grades 7-10.

Important facts about his experience:

Dutch schooling places children in different levels according to ability. Kai was placed in the highest level HAVO (mostly because he comes from an American system, which is more advanced than the island program). This is important to know because it meant ALL his classes, including exams, were taught in the Dutch language. Imagine taking a test and not knowing a single word on the paper.
  • He was the only American and one of two white boys in the school
  • His best friends were Dominican Republicans, Dutch and Statian
  • Was referred to as "Primo" by the Dominicans. They had his back.
  • Had to wear a uniform but learned how to accessorize with a little bling.
  • He stuck out like a sore thumb
  • required to take 10 classes and 4 languages
  • Was known as the boy who rides the bike
  • Lots of excitement at school including fights, kids being chased by crowbars, and boys being arrested for drugs.
  • He became an expert in sneaking out of school early. Mom's consent.

If students don't pass their exams, they must repeat the year. They must continue repeating until they pass grade 10, up until 24 yrs of age. This means there were a few 20+ yr olds going to school with 12 yr olds. Gross.
A poster that was distributed on the Dutch Carribean islands. Front and center, the token white boy. Finally, a poster child.

We are happy to report that Kai passed all his exams, in Dutch.
Kai taking cousin Henry to school with him the last week.

Celebratory day at beach. What else? Taking out pent up energy on Pop.
Nikki, the evil accomplice.

video
What kind of sunset are they having in Phoenix tonight?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hellos, goodbyes, and some good times in between

This entry is a sandwich.

A fun sandwich, with the bun made of hellos and goodbyes.

Above we have Kai with three of his buddies, one afternoon at the pier. These boys are all from the Dominican Republic. For some reason they have decided to watch Kai's back at school. Although they don't spend time with him at school, they call him "Primo" (cousin). We think it is because although he is not one of them, he is a cousin to them. The resemblance is striking.

But wait, back up the bus...I am getting ahead of myself.

Hello #1 :

Ok, here is a photo of a group of our visitors. We are posing with a display of what 20 guilders can buy at the local bakery (sodium free)**Front: Emily, scratching her chin before the feast, Moi, Henry, my nephew

Back row: model Connely Packard, the everlovely Frances, and Allison with baby Isabelle (Allison is Frances' sister in law).

**dutch law requires all island bakeries to bake salt -free. This is due to high numbers of hypertension and diabetes and the cost involved in treating the people. Hmm.


Hello #2:

No party is complete without Kathy. Arriving from New York, Kathy joined us for a few days. On top is the adorable Poeske, begging for a ride on the dune buggy

St. Kitts in the background at botanical gardens.

Q. How many people can fit into this 5 person Jeep Cherokee?

  • A. 10 persons, 2 boogie boards, 1 surfboard and a turtle floaty

  • Fact: no seatbelts required on Statia

Introducing Allison to Zeelandia

Homeis of Statia. Yo, for real.

With Frances about to go back to the states after 6 months with us, Henry will take her place for a couple of months. Charles now has 3 teenagers to torture him and drive him to behave like a wild, trapped animal daily. Commence the daily prisoner beatings.Sophia gets practice babysitting little Isabelle, who as a matter of fact, hardly cried or fussed the whole trip. She was a great baby.

Boys looking for the white whale.

Zsa Zsa and stylist



***Now for the sandwich middle***

No blog would be complete without the fine dining of Smoke Alley and a party

While we are all sitting down getting ready to order drinks...


A certain 5 year old takes matters into his own hands and is caught at the bar ordering his own drink and a straw from the bartender. We were relieved that he ordered something non-achoholic. Did these people sitting next to him not find this an odd situation?

Philippe giving Charles instructions on how to get more Sprite without getting caught twice. The key, Charles, is to do it in French.

Side note: Philipe is French, his fiance Soledad, is Argentine. They lived upstairs from us and we have been friends with them for our entire stay here. We have really really enjoyed their company.

This time it is Ethan's party...FIFTEEN. Good grief, what happened to the time? If you don't believe me, count the candles.

The next day:

Kai, Charles, and los Primos


This is the fish that was caught for the festivities

This is the man who caught the fish. He is Naldo.These are the people who ate the fish...Matt the trusty scuba instructor, Jamaican bodybuilder and pastry chef, Vinnete, 14 year old Julicia, her daughter, and the best mezzo soprano gospel singer I've ever heard, and Sole. In back: Ed playing peek-a boo. Also caught for the fine dining: King crab. Julicia enjoying it whole-heartedly

Q. WHich if these fabulous things in the island did Emily, Allison, Laura, and co, do in ONE (the last one) day?

A)7AM Hike the Quill and descend into the volcano
B)11 AM A final Scuba dive/snorkel off the boat
C)2 PM snorkeling at private beach
D)4PM Swimming at Zeelandia
E)7PM Crab/fish/Conch soup cookout at pier

F) All of the above

G)None of the above. Too busy packing


Fact: Pineapples produce exactly ONE fruit before they die.

A: F. We crammed as much in as possible.

On our morning hike:

The best view of the island. We had to hike a trecherous single track goat trail to get there, but worth it.

(pause)

Now for the goodbyes:

Goodbye, Philipe and Sole. Off you go to Argentina, then to Brazil to start your own scuba business. We are going to miss you. Charles especially. Both boys may look jovial here, but it was actually a miserable moment when they realized they were losing their buddy.
Goodbye #2:


Goodbye, dear Frances. We will miss you. Back to Provo, real school, schedules, seatbelts, closed-toe shoes, curfews, chores, and responsibilites. You are going to miss us.

No ending is complete without the sunset.
It reminds us how much we miss those we love already.


The End

PS Thanks for the gift you left the boys upstairs when you moved away, Philipe. And Ethan, the answer is no. You can't go down to Happy City and sell it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Queen got some amazing drummers to celebrate her day

For anyone who has lived on Statia, you know that there are only two events in the year that start on time. The first is Statia Day, where the cannons are fired from the fort and three flags (Statia, The Netherlands, and the Antilles flags) go up at precisely 6AM.


The other is the Queen's Birthday. Ditto Statia Day, minus the cannons. Everything else starts anywhere from 1-3 hours late. If you think I am joking, ask me when I get back how long we waited for the fundraiser last July to start. Sophia was doing a cultural dance and was told to be there at 7PM. We rushed to get her there and were astonished that the stage was not even set up. This pattern continued until we finally caught on and realized that "Be there at 4:30" really actually means "Get there around 6. If you're busy doing something else, then just come when it's convenient. We'll wait for you to get here to start" . I do not exaggerate. When the school Christmas program came around, 7PM start time at the community center, angels were barely rolling out of the family car in the parking lot a 7:45, johnnycakes in hand, moseying to the back stage.

Finally, Statia Day, in November, we decided NOT to rush around like crazy people at 5 AM to get to the fort at 6:Am, where were were all playing our instruments with the steel pan and other band. We arrived at approximately 6:04, Certain that we were complete fools. Indeed we were, but not for the reason we thought. They had actually started ON TIME.







video

We were sure to arrive on time for the queens birthday. Kids get 5 days off for her royal highness' Queen Beatrix' birthday. Now how is that possible? For my birthday I don't get 5 days off! I want to be queen!

video

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No Bus Necessary


Sooo, this is Sophia. I want to tell you about my walk to school. Sooo, usually I meet a goat on the way. Chickens too! sometimes I meet a few donkeys and cows, like in the picture. It's dusty so if it rains I might not get to go to school!!!!!Ummmm, walk down the big side of the mountain. we can see the ocean.Yep.